Felicity was awakened from a pleasant dream by the persistent buzz of her phone on the nightstand. It sounded like angry bees and she was tempted to pull the pillow over her head to silence it and return to sleep. Then she remembered she was a cop with a sworn duty to uphold the law - even at an unreasonably early hour on a Saturday morning. Crap.
With a muffled groan, she blindly groped at the nightstand until her hand landed on the irritating device. Squinting in the low morning light, she saw that the call was not from SCPD Dispatch, but from Sin. At 7:35. Really?
"Block video," she said to the phone.
"What do you want?" she said to Sin.
There was a pause. "You know, what do you want is kind of rude. You need to find a nicer way to answer the phone," Sin replied dryly.
"Not at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, I don't."
Sin chuckled, sounding awake and annoyingly cheerful. "I played three periods of hockey last night and you don't see me getting my bitch on."
"That's because you got more sleep than me. I didn't get to bed til after two." Felicity started to calculate her actual hours of slumber but stopped when she decided the number was going to be too small.
"Well, we both know you weren't working late," Sin said, "so you get no sympathy from me."
Felicity frowned as she thought about her evening at the hospital benefit, the first public event she had attended with Oliver. There had been glamorous people, tiny finger foods she couldn't identify, and a pair of heels that made her legs look fantastic but made her feet want to cry. The affair had lasted hours and Oliver had introduced her to so many guests that their faces became a blur. Sharing little in common with them, she'd quickly exhausted her capacity for small talk. Her comfort zone may as well have been on another continent.
"I think I would rather have worked," she said.
"I don't know. I was looking at pictures from the benefit. You look happy enough in them."
Felicity blinked. "What?"
"Don't act so surprised. You were out with the city's favorite, charismatic CEO so you made Inside Star City...again."
"Oh crap. Really?" Felicity could imagine the ribbing she was going to get at work.
"You had to know it would happen. Check it out. You look good in blue."
Slightly more awake now, Felicity turned to the nightstand to retrieve her tablet. Then she dragged a second pillow from the pile on the bed and thumped it on top of hers. Propping her shoulders against the soft stack, she pulled the website up and sorted through the photos.
And there she was, walking into City Hall on Oliver's arm. The benefit was not quite a black tie affair, which meant that Oliver could forgo a tux in favor of a suit and she had been able to get away with a cocktail dress. Still, everyone was attired, coiffed and made up with such perfection that she'd felt as though she'd stepped onto a film set. She recalled the flash of cameras and supposed that Sin was right - she shouldn't be surprised by showing up on the city's popular social website. Oliver was news, after all.
"Where'd you get the dress?"
"Hmm?" Felicity ran her finger along the tablet as she continued to scroll though the pictures.
"The dress," Sin said again. "I like it. Where'd you buy it?"
"A consignment shop on Twenty-second street."
The dress had been a real find. It was a royal blue, V-neck number with thin straps that exposed her arms and shoulders. It had a fancy designer label, and even second-hand, cost more than she knew she should be spending. Oliver had offered her his credit card to go shopping, but Felicity had declined. It felt too soon. They'd been seeing each for about a month, which - with their combined work schedules - had amounted to a half dozen dinners and a couple of movie nights at his place. Not nearly the credit card sharing stage.
"I see they included your name this time," Sin said. "No more 'unidentified blonde.'"
Felicity read the lines under the photo:
Oliver Queen entering the Star City hospital benefit, looking sharp as always. Sources identify his companion as Felicity Smoke, a homicide detective with the SCPD. Ms. Smoke is believed to have been the lead investigator in Isabel Rochev's murder, for which political reporter Susan Williams is now serving a life sentence.
"Kinda missed on the spelling, though," Sin added.
Felicity nodded. "Yup."
"Can I see the pictures?" The voice came from the middle of the bed, low and sleepy.
"What? What was that?" Sin chirped.
Felicity yawned. "What was what?"
"I heard another voice. There's someone there with you." Sin paused. "Shit. Are you in bed with him? Is that why you blocked video?"
Felicity watched as Oliver rolled onto his side to face her, his eyes half open. It still amazed her that she was allowed to see him like this; his guard down, the sharp, executive focus absent. It made him seem much more human.
"Yes," she said to Sin. "Here," she said to Oliver, handing him the tablet.
He slid close to her, then propped himself up on her pillow stack, balancing the tablet on his stomach. Felicity nearly smiled when the action made his abdominal muscles contract. He was naked, as was she - another reason she had blocked video before answering her phone. When they'd gotten to his house after the benefit, they'd been too tired to bother about pajamas. They'd simply piled their clothes onto a chair and climbed into the enormous bed.
"I didn't interrupt you in the middle of hot sex, did I?" Sin sounded more curious than apologetic.
"No," Felicity replied. She leaned over Oliver's shoulder, intending to look at the pictures. Instead, she found herself admiring his abs once more. "Not yet," she added.
For a rare, few seconds, Sin had nothing to say. Then she mumbled, "Well, I'll let you get to it, then. Talk to you later." And she disconnected before Felicity could reply.
Oliver continued scrolling through the photos, taking time to study any that contained the two of them. She found it disconcerting, the way he tilted his head and examined them.
"You're really engrossed with those pictures," she said. "Please don't tell me that you like looking at yourself. That feels a little...narcissistic."
He frowned but didn't lift his gaze. "I'm not looking at me. I'm looking at you. I'm trying to figure out how miserable you were at the benefit last night."
He sighed and placed the tablet on the bed, then turned to face her again. "You told Sin just now that you would have preferred to have been working. So, I assume that means you didn't enjoy being out with me."
His gaze was penetrating and he seemed genuinely worried. Felicity wished she'd chosen her words to Sin more thoughtfully.
"That's not true. I enjoyed being out with you," she stated.
He cocked an eyebrow at her and waited.
"It's just the whole mingling with the rich and famous thing that I was a little uncomfortable with," she added.
He nodded. "I see."
But he didn't look relieved and she didn't think he was appreciating the distinction. She scrambled to make things right. "Look - don't get hung up on one careless sentence," she said. "I've been happier this month than I've ever been, at least since I lost my Mom. Sin even thought I look happy in the photos, and she knows me better than anyone. "
He said nothing, but she thought the furrow in his forehead smoothed out a little.
"If being able to spend time alone with you like this," she gestured at the bed, "means that I have to learn to deal with weird appetizers and getting my picture posted on city websites, then I'll make the adjustment. It's worth it -- you're worth it. It just might take a little time. You'll need to be patient."
He did smile then, his blue eyes crinkling. "I think you're going to have to be patient with me, too. It's kind of the opposite of what I'm used to. Women I've known in the past seemed like they really enjoyed the luxury and the spotlight. If they didn't get it, they were disappointed. I guess I'm not used to a woman who just wants me for me."
She reached over him and retrieved the tablet, returning it to the nightstand. Then she gently pushed him onto his back and ran her hand across his chest. "I like every part of you," she said. "And I don't give a damn about the luxury and the spotlight. I just want you. Now." And without waiting for a reply, she slid on top of him, stretching out so that they connected from chest to thigh.
He laughed. "Okay. I can handle that."
And then she kissed him.